General Warnings

Are There Weight Gain Medicines Without Side Effects?

Weight gain occurs when you regularly eat more calories than you use through normal bodily functions and physical activity. But weight gain medicines can also help you gain weight fast.

Although being lean can often be healthy, being underweight can be a concern if it’s the result of poor nutrition or if you are pregnant or have other health concerns. People who are underweight typically are not getting enough calories to fuel their bodies. Often, they are also suffering from malnutrition. Malnutrition means you are not taking in enough vitamins and minerals from your food. If you’re underweight, you may be at risk for the following health issues:

  • Delayed growth and development. This is especially true in children and teens, whose bodies need plenty of nutrients to grow and stay healthy.
  • Fragile bones. A deficiency in vitamin D and calcium, along with low body weight, can lead to weak bones and osteoporosis.
  • Weakened immune system. When you don’t get enough nutrients, your body cannot store energy. This makes it difficult to fight illness. It may also be difficult for your immune system to recover after being sick.
  • Anemia. This condition can be caused by not having enough of the vitamins iron, folate, and B12. This can cause dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.
  • Fertility issues. In women, low body weight can lead to irregular periods, lack of periods, and infertility.
  • Hair loss. Low body weight can cause hair to thin and fall out easily. It also can cause dry, thin skin and health issues with teeth and gums.

Many underweight people are physically healthy. Low body weight is due to a variety of causes, including:

What medicines can make you gain weight?

There are several supplements currently available for weight gain, some of these weight gain medications contain prescription medicines and vitamins, they include:

  • Apetamin
  • Weight gainer pills
  • Periactin
  • Oraxin and others

 The full list of medications that can cause weight gain is presented below:

Antihistamines: ranitidine, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Blood pressure medications: metoprolol (Lopressor), atenolol (Tenormin), propranolol (Inderal)

Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications: paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline, trazodone, alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium)

Steroids: prednisone, oral contraceptives, norethindrone, Nexplanon, tamoxifen

Diabetes drugs: insulin (Humulin N, Lantus), glipizide, pioglitazone

Antipsychotics: quetiapine (Seroquel), olanzapine (Zyprexa), aripiprazole (Abilify), haloperidol (Haldol)

Anti-seizure and nerve pain drugs: gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), divalproex (Depakote)

Opioids: oxycodone, hydrocodone

Are there weight gain medicines without side effects?

No, unfortunately, there are no medications for weight gain without side effects, all medicines cause side effects. Even those promoted as 100 % natural supplements or complementary medicines may contain herbs and substances you might be allergic to. Some supplements may also contain a hidden ingredient that might Interact with other medicines you may be taking and cause further complications. Interactions can happen between prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.

How to reduce the risk of weight gain medicine side effects

To reduce your risk of experiencing side effects:

  • Take all medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Don’t take anyone else’s medicines.
  • Learn about your medication. All prescription medicines have an information leaflet called Consumer Medicine Information (CMI). This gives detailed information on the medicine in plain English, including how to use it, side effects and precautions. Your pharmacist can also give you the CMI for your medicine.
  • Speak to your pharmacist if you buy over-the-counter or complementary medicines. They can advise you about side effects and interactions with other medicines you are taking. Be aware that medicines you buy in the supermarket can also cause side effects.
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.
  • Have an annual review of all the medicines you take. This is important for older people as they are more likely to experience side effects. A review can take place in a pharmacy or at home. Ask your doctor for more information about medication reviews.

Other things you can do to reduce your risk of side effects from weight gain medicines include:

  • Ask your doctor if improving your lifestyle could reduce your need for medication. Some conditions can be better managed with changes to your diet and regular exercise.
  • Return unwanted and out-of-date weight gain medicines to your pharmacy for safe disposal. This is a free service.
  • Talk to your pharmacist about dosage aids that can help you organize your pill taking. You may be at risk of making mistakes if you take many different medicines at different times.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist questions so you understand the benefits and risks of your weight gain medicines.

Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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